[Insert pun involving Jodie Foster’s vagina]

Friday June 10th 2011

A couple of weeks ago I was shocked to discover that ‘innuendonic’ is not in fact a real word. I’d been using it for years and couldn’t think of anything that might make an apt substitute (‘innuendo-laden’ sounds like some kind of Finnish art collective). So instead of giving in and allowing society to wrestle this fine term from my vocabulary, I took to Twitter in an effort to ‘make innuendonic happen’. Here’s a definition if you want to print it out and glue it into your dictionary between ‘innuendo’ and ‘innumerable’:

inn·u·en·don·ic – adjective
using or of the nature of an innuendo
the innuendonic terms he uses to describe their relationship.

It wasn’t a massively successful campaign and I have yet to hear from anyone at the OED, but I’m glad I persevered because if there was one word I was expecting to use excessively in my review of The Beaver, it was ‘innuendonic’. If things went well, I might even get a chance to re-use some of the imagery from my Hangover 2 review.

Given that first-time screenwriter Kyle Killen could have made the ‘prescription puppet’ that Mel Gibson communicates through for most of the movie any animal whatsoever, I naturally assumed that he’d chosen a beaver to give himself some reliable genitalia-based humour to fall back on when times got tough. But inexplicably, not once in the entire movie does anyone score into this massive, perpetually-open goal.

It’s like if Ed Balls and Brian Cox drove off a dyke into a muff warehouse and The Sun went with the headline ‘MP and Physicist Cross Levee Into Handwarmer Depository’.

Such wasting of potential is rife in The Beaver, which goes to elaborate lengths to sidestep any interesting conflicts or complex characters, instead opting for twee humour, saccharine life lessons and endless supposedly-hilarious sequences in which Mel Gibson impersonates a cockney rodent. At one point he calls Jodie Foster ‘a lovely tart’ which is quite fun (if a little too reminiscent of his well-publicised phone manner to be entirely innocuous) but for the most part it’s a bland role with little to offer even the most affection-starved of Hollywood stars.

The film has yet to make back even $1 million of its $21 million budget in the States, and judging by the total lack of marketing push behind the UK release, Icon can’t be hoping for much more success over here. You can’t help but feel sorry for Foster, whose shoddy-but-essentially-good-natured comedy has been catastrophically sabotaged by her decision to cast Public Enemy Number One in the lead role. The Beaver is a bad film for sure, but if one shit comedy was destined to make $500 million this year I’d rather it was this than Raunchy Drunk Men 2: Thailand Edition.

Did I mention it has Anton Yelchin in it? He needs to pick his projects more carefully.